Shining Tor and the Goyt Valley

by backpackingbongos

*Warning this post may contain a bit of a rant*

Both myself and Corrina had the Friday off work and the weather forecast was excellent.  She surprised me by agreeing to join myself and Reuben for a short walk in the Peak District.  I therefore planned an easy route up to the summit of Shining Tor from the Goyt valley.  We had a lazy morning and did not set off from the car park at the Errwood reservoir until nearly 2.00pm.  The idea was to finish the walk and head to a pub for dinner before the drive home.

6.4 miles with 430 metres ascent

The car park was pretty busy considering that it was a weekday.  I’m not sure that I would want to visit the valley on a sunny summers weekend, I would imagine it would be packed.  A pleasant surprise is the fact that parking is still free.

Within a couple of minutes of walking back down the reservoir road I was fuming and on full on swearing under my breath mode.  The verges were covered in litter, including that from takeaways which had clearly been discarded from moving vehicles.  The knuckle dragging nature of some of my fellow human beings frankly often astounds me.  What goes on through their pea sized brains as they decide to visit a beauty spot and then make a bleeding mess of it?  I may have used the term ‘f*** nuggets’ a few times as Corrina quietly walked alongside me.

Thankfully the ‘f*** nuggets’ are firmly welded to the seats of their cars and are therefore unable to drag their stupid bodies away from the road.  On the other side of Shooters clough bridge a path led steeply up through the beautiful woodland.  In the warm and humid air we were soon sweating buckets, even Reuben was slower than usual.

At a junction in the path we decided that we did not want to lose any of the height we had gained and continued onwards, the path not marked on my map.  It ended up climbing up along Foxlow edge through thick jungle like vegetation, the surrounding moors filling the horizon.

Before the highest point of Foxlow edge I noticed a small outcrop of rock that overlooked the wooded valley far below.  Surrounded by cropped grass it was the perfect place to stop for lunch, a gentle breeze providing welcome relief.

The air unfortunately was full of flies, most of which decided to bother Reuben, his head a buzzing mass of them.  He happily snapped away at them, probably eating a few dozen.

Eating our sandwiches a familiar figure passed by the wall and we all paused to look at each other.  It turned out to be an old friend of ours Kate, who we had not seen for a few years.  A huge coincidence to bump into each other in the middle of the Peaks and we sat for a while catching up.  The last time that Kate had visited the Goyt valley was years ago with myself and a group of friends.  The conditions then were very different, a cold winters day with frequent downpours.

Most of Kate’s route coincided with ours so we set off together, following the wall along Foxhall edge.  The views along here are extensive and I found that my attention was grabbed by the huge bulk of Kinder Scout on the horizon.  We passed high above the Spanish shrine, located in a magnificent spot amongst the trees.  However none of us fancied the steep descent to get to it.  Our path descended gently towards the lane called The Street.  A path has developed on the other side of the road which means that a walk along the tarmac can be avoided.  We joined the busy path towards Shining Tor from the summit of the road, many people gaining access from the high level car park.

It is a splendid stroll along the undulating ridge and as we got further from the road the crowds thinned out.  The views are magnificent, especially to the west where the hills meet the flat plains.  Although it was a hot sunny August afternoon there was a hint of autumn in the air.  The moorland grass which up until recently was a vivid green has started to turn brown.  This gave a lovely velvety texture to the hills.  Once again I found myself suffering from hay fever whilst walking on the moors.

Just to the west of the summit of Shining Tor is a small outcrop of rock that provides an airy vantage point, the ground steeply dropping away.  The cone of Shuttingsloe was a prominent feature of the view.  Unfortunately we could not hang around for long due to the combination of flying ants and the clouds of biting midges.  I would imagine that the midges would have been even more hellish later that evening once the sun had lost its strength.

A kilometre later we parted company with Kate as she headed towards the Cat and Fiddle.  We headed north along a grassy path that follows a wide ridge.

A family and their dog was quickly catching up so we stopped and had a second lunch overlooking Shooters clough.  Unfortunately they also decided to stop right next to us which managed to raise my internal annoyance factor once again.  We had only stopped so that they could pass us by, especially since their Jack Russell was a bit squeaky around Reuben.

On the positive side the view back towards Foxlow edge was rather special.

The squeaky dog group soon left us to enjoy the peace and quiet before we followed at a distance down the switchback path through the woods.

One of the attractions of this area is the rhododendrons that surround the remains of Errwood hall.  The hillsides are cloaked in the things and are meant to look pretty spectacular when they flower in the early summer.  I’m not sure what benefits they bring to our native wildlife though.  The ruins of Errwood hall itself was half hidden amongst dense vegetation, the warm humid air making the location feel rather tropical.

A short stroll back to the car park where we managed to fill the car full of ravenous midges.  The one way road up Goyts Clough was a joy to drive, although accompanied by both of us scratching those itchy midge bites.


18 Comments to “Shining Tor and the Goyt Valley”

  1. Aaaah, that’s one area I’ve visited extensively (hell, even wildcmamped in the plantation below the Cat’s Tor-Shinning Tor ridge….) in every season, it is my favourite winter night walk, easy nav, fantastic views on the Mancunian connurbation all lit up on one side, darkness on the other…worth a try, being up there with the ground covered in thick snow and ice, the full moon shining on you, the odd deer hanging around the ridge…I would start it from a parking spot near to the Cat and Fiddle but from Pymm’s Chair carpark is equally good. It avoids the reservoir chores which in summer are a natural habitat for the Chavus Maximus, I’ve seen scenes of rubbish littering the place to make one very, very angry and being subjected to gratuitous abuse (it lead me to buy a stout chestnut wood stick which makes a satisfying noise when hitting soft tissues and bones…) by the local pond life of boy racers munching on their McDonald’s…

    (Talking about rubbish, I brought down a bag of it which I found in an isolated spot in the Yorkshire Dales where no chavs hang around, left there by the kind of person who ought to know better and that makes me even angrier…quite possible it was left by a wildcamper judging by the content of it…)

    • There are things that I would like to do to those who do not know how to use a litter bin properly, and they are not nice things. As for wild camping litter leavers………….

      This is one of my least visited area of the Peaks as takes the longest to get to from home. A lovely area though, a wild camp on the ridge would be good in winter, watching the sun set and the lights twinkling in the valley below.

      • I’d be happy to help you…Get hold of a book by Alan Garner called “Thursbitch” (look at the map, west of the Shining Tor ridge, you’ll see that valley) which is an interesting if challenging read (unless 18th century Cheshire dialect is your forte…) and shines a very esoteric light onto the area. I’ve been to a few of the strange landmarks described in the book (a fiction but based on local lores and legends, partly)…

      • I remember seeing the name ‘Thursbitch’ on my map on a previous visit, will have to look it up again. I do try and keep my reading less than challenging though these days!

  2. It is a nice place, the litter is left by the youf of Buxton who spend most summer evenings smoking best afghan black, whilst getting to know each other intimately,I think tidying up there litter is the last thing on there mind

    • The joys of youf eh? Although I am pretty sure that I managed to take my litter home back in the day………………………..

  3. Looks a nice stroll.

  4. That was a fine stroll, and very pretty.
    I really really really need to get out in the hills before the weather turns ………..Bugger!

    Sadly it is not just youf who leave litter.
    Some people should not be allowed outside.
    Dog walkers who leave bags of $hit by the path are another big whinge.
    If I could find out where they lived I would collect it and post it back through their letter boxes.

    And breathe ……….

    • Funnily enough we did pass two bags of what I assume contained dog poo right next to the path. Often it is hanging from a tree.

      Get out in the hills soon Andy otherwise you will need a jumper.

  5. Might need a wetsuit in Wales tomorrow.
    Luckily I am in East Anglia where the sun doth shine (now and then).

    There’s always the North Norfolk Coastal Path. Hmm thinks……..

  6. There is a massive “grrrrrrr” factor with both rubbish and bags of 5hit left hanging in the trees. I can’t for the life of me think why anyone considers it right to simply chuck it on the ground/hang it on the branch when it is just as easy to deal with it properly. And – as has been pointed out before – it’s not just the youf element that is responsible for the mess. Any number of seemingly responsible adults are equally as negligent – obviously with a “f*** it, someone else’ll see to it” attitude. Morons, the lot of them.

    Now I really must calm down! 🙂

  7. I think i mentioned the word ‘dogging’ to you when we were talking about the goyt valley the other weekend…

  8. Is it me or do far too many of your comments threads end up going a bit “carry on”. There I was enjoying a nice read-n-rant combo and suddenly it’s about dogging in Peak District car parks – really 🙂

    Some great walking up there and I too like the views over the Cheshire Plain and the urban sprawl of Manchester. Reminds me of a classic walk I did as student, train to Macclesfield, walk to Buxton via Shining Tor, Cat and Fiddle (for a pint of Robinsons) and over to Buxton via the Goyt Valley to get the train home

    • Andy, the blog is best read with the theme tune to Benny hill playing in the background………….

      The Macclesfield to Buxton walk sounds a good one, although the wrong side of the Pennines for me.

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